The Hippo


Apr 25, 2019








Gilbert Gottfried. Courtesy photo.

Gilbert Gottfried

When: Thursday, July 6, 8 p.m.
Where: Chunky’s Cinema Pub, 707 Huse Road, Manchester
Tickets: $30 at

Cinema show
Comic Gottfried helps open newest Chunky’s

By Michael Witthaus

 It’s fitting that Gilbert Gottfried is one of the first comedians to perform at the newly opened Manchester franchise of Chunky’s Cinema Pub, where most people come to the luxury multiplex for the movies. Gottfried hosts a podcast devoted to Hollywood’s golden era, and his New York home is filled with pieces of movieola. 

So the inveterate film buff is keen on the Chunky’s concept, where people typically watch movies while reclined in a Lincoln Town Car seat with a burger in one hand and a beer in the other.
“Everyone thinks they’re at their home at the movies anyway,”  Gottfried said in a recent phone interview. “[You’re sitting] in an easy chair with people bringing you food — there are certain movies … that I kind of wish I were in that situation where I didn’t have to watch the movie.”
Gottfried is also the subject of new documentary, a fact that has him less than thrilled, if not outright grouchy. He only agreed to the film, which screened in April at Tribeca, after director Neil Berkeley invited him to lunch — and promised to pay. The comic said in one interview that he’d probably dine with Mussolini if he picked up the check. 
Gilbert is a disarmingly sweet film, with appearances from Whoopi Goldberg, Lewis Black, Bill Burr and other comedian pals, but Gottfried likened his involvement to dying and going to the wrong place.
“It’s really what I envision hell to be like. You die and then you’re forced to watch your entire life on the screen,” he said. “Surprisingly, it’s gotten great reviews, but I can’t really enjoy it.”
When pressed, he’s a bit more good-natured. 
“I guess if I were in hell, I’d have to remind myself that of all the things they could be doing to you, maybe watching a movie is not the worst of it,” he said. “Now if it were Hitler, that would be a harder movie to watch.”
The film revisits Gottfried’s loss of his Aflac duck gig after a series of offensive tweets, an experience that made him feel a bit, well, Hitler-esque. 
“I didn’t know how the whole internet and society worked,” he said when asked if he might have done anything differently. “They’re constantly looking for villains. ... Someone who blew up a school bus would have garnered more sympathy than I did.”
Getting stalked by reporters and paparazzi while the affair played out gave him vital perspective, particularly when wags declared the damage to be permanent. 
“It truly is over when no one’s talking about you, when if you rescue a baby from a burning building, it won’t get press,” Gottfried said. “But if their top story is your career is over, then your career is not over.”
He’s had the final word, staying busy with lots of club work, and Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast. Cohosted by Frank Santopadre, the show gives the privately reticent comic a chance to talk with guests he’d otherwise never meet. 
“I don’t know the phone numbers of maybe more than two celebrities, and I would have to look for them,” he said. “With this podcast, it gives me an excuse to talk to these people.”
Television and film legend Dick Van Dyke provided one of his favorite moments making the show,  though it happened off mike. 
“He told me that in school his nickname was ‘Dick Nose,’” Gottfried said with his trademark cackle. “Whenever the teacher would ask a question, she’d say, ‘Who knows the answer?’ The class would scream out, ‘Dick knows!’ That’s something you never heard on The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
Gottfried visits the Granite State often. Asked if he likes it here, the comic offered a classic response.
“Well, what am I supposed to say? I don’t know if I have really strong opinions, like people who hate blacks or Jews. I’ll go, ‘Oh, those people in New Hampshire, those are the ones I hate,’ and that’ll be something people know about me! They’ll go, ‘Oh, he might be lovable in his movies, but offstage he hates people from New Hampshire.’ That would be great if that was my next scandal.” 

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